The Memory Box
by Margaret Forster
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
This is the first of Margaret Forster’s books that I’ve tried reading; and it won’t be the last.
Susannah died when her daughter Catherine was just six months old, but Catherine grows up happily with her father’s second wife becoming her Mummy and never wants to find out about Susannah. However when Susannah knew she was dying she assembled a “memory box” for her baby daughter. Finally opening the box as an adult, having ignored it for years, Catherine tries to piece together this jigsaw of a legacy.
I really liked the premise, I thought it might be a bit of a manufactured sort of a story but it came over naturally enough. The objects in the box aren’t obvious and I thought that Catherine could probably have taken a different path through them and found out different things about Susannah. Which isn’t the point really, the point is that it was a good story and the characters were consistent.
The narrative reminded me of Barbara Vine a little, possibly because there is a quiet sense of impending doom in the “what will she find out about her mother?” question, but there isn’t a hugely terrible hidden secret in here like there would be with Vine. It’s more a case of the surprising things that are hidden in ordinary lives.
Enjoyable read, good writing, an interesting plot and great characters. I don’t ask for much more than that from a book really!